Resonant Shower Cavity and Aquarium in Monterey, CA


Jellys in the tank I took a photo of

Last night, I was humming in the shower of my cheap motel in Monterey. As I hit a low note in my little ditty, the volume of my song jumped substantially. I was a bit surprised, but thankfully I understood why this occurred. I had unintentionally found the fundamental mode's frequency for this shower. 

I should explain that the geometry of this shower is unconventional. The showers in this cheap motel are 6'6" tall, 3' wide, 4'6" long tiled rectangular prisms with a thin glass door on hinges. It's a dark, claustrophobic shower cavity and a decent approximation of a Helmholtz resonator.

The fundamental mode of a rectangular cavity depends on the two larger dimensions and if you know the speed of sound in the box, you can calculate that frequency. I found it to be about 178 Hz. I was humming the song shown below and the low note that caused the resonation was E on the 2nd standard octave. This is about 82.4 Hz. 82.4 times 2 is pretty close to 178 Hz, so I reckon my estimates on the dimensions of the shower chamber are off.

Anyways, it's interesting to think about how air carries sound and how one might manipulate that fact to change the volume. 

Photos from the aquarium:

The acoustic frequencies of importance

Some notes on resonant frequencies

Over the First Midterms


The first set of graduate school midterms are behind me. I solved some equations and missed a couple points here and there. Work goes on and taking it one step at a time. 

My mom and brother came to town a couple weeks ago. It was nice to spend some time comfortably around the city. I got to show them Northeastern and we went shopping before a nice dinner. I think often about what my life might be like if I moved out further to the country or closer to the midwest.

Posters and protests are occurring at universities across the US against the violence in the Levant. Students at MIT were threatened with suspension for continued protests in Lobby 7. I've seen many posters on the issue at NEU.

I wouldn't be such a patriot if I didn't have to be. Strong and fair systems are needed for peace. Here's hoping and praying. 

Beyond the stress of life, I went out Halloween weekend with a couple friends. We saw the Northeastern Men's Hockey team get whooped by Merrimack College and then visited The Black Rose in downtown Boston. Good times.

The $5 chicken at Costco inspired this cult wanting for their sustenance. 

Hiking Mt Monadnock


I went up Mt Monadnock in southern NH yesterday. I had a great time with my colleagues at Northeastern. We got up early and went up 2 thousand ft over ~6 miles. 

Hiking Mt Cardigan

I went up Mt. Cardigan this morning to try and watch the sunrise. Instead we watched a lot of fog, but as we came off the mountain it all cleared and I saw the valley below.


Back on the Student Grind

Walking to the bus stop on campus, I breathed in the crisp cool air this fine September night. I'm busy and I'm happy. Things are moving and shaking at Northeastern and I am looking forward to the efforts to come. There are neat robots and mechanisms to build. 

My desk is on the 7th floor of the EXP building and I have a good view facing east towards the ocean. 

My colleagues in the Institute of Experimental Robotics will sit nearby and we should have many interesting collaborations to come.

Northeastern needs a full semi truck to restock the Dunkin locations on campus... lots of coffee and donuts for these hoards of learners

Fancy elevator buttons

Let's hope my house's furnace keeps up through the Winter to come

Walking up past Ell hall on campus this past week


The Quest to the West Road Trip


After I found out that I was heading to graduate school, I thought about how I might spend the time leading up to starting school. I considered a trip with two good friends to Australia, but then decided against it as that trip would happen during the first semester at the end of September into October. Not long after that decision, I was thinking about visiting a couple National Parks that turned into a plan for a grand road trip.

The road trip was about 4000 miles over 16 days. I drove from my place in MA to visit family and friends as far as Colorado before turning around and coming back. 

I wrote about this adventure here:

It was a wild time and I am glad to get my travel jitters out.

Today was the first day of in-person classes for me at Northeastern University as a PhD student. It was exciting to get back into the swing of formalized learning.

More updates on being a graduate student to come, I'm honestly still figuring the ropes out.

In the Badlands NP of South Dakota

Vegas and Nantucket 2023

Immediately after finishing work on July 14th, I boarded a set of flights to Las Vegas. I was on my way to the MIT Pi Reunion. In nerdy fashion, MIT holds its first major undergraduate class reunion at π years since graduation (approx. 3.14 years). That night, I was in the Aria on the strip with friends. I got straight to it. I embraced everything at least once and tried a couple games in order to waste my money. Gambling is a general waste. Perhaps someday I might try poker with a bit of cash, but generally I saw the lost avarice that evening. I went to sleep at 6 AM local time and a few brews and taco bell. 

The following morning, about 2.5 hours later, I woke up and nursed my headache with a frappe before hopping into a van. As part of the reunion festivities, I paid for a desert ATV tour in the Mojave. The van couriered the group and I off to the Nelson hills, where we rode at < 25 mph along worn paths of sand. I was stunned by the heat and I couldn't imagine staying out there much longer than we did. The wind against my thin hiking shirt was the only thing keeping me from spontaneous combustion.

That night, after seeing some more friends and taking a nap, I was out on the whole strip. The roving party including me, went out to see multiple casinos from Paris, to Caesars Palace, to the Bellagio, and more. It was fun to see the insanity of the tourist city all around my friends and I. It was a good time, but not something to maintain. I sincerely think that anyone interested in seeing the excess should witness it, but not indulge too deeply, lest they fall from grace like Odysseus's men to Circe. I slept wonderfully at my room in the Aria and woke refreshed the next morning. 

The next morning, I drove out of town and saw Hoover Dam and the Atomic History Museum. I had a great time learning about the engineering marvels of the outer realms of the Vegas valley. I was also a bit stunned by the lack of resources and wealth off the strip, but not too stunned.

On Monday, I drove through the desert with Coyote and we listened to a bunch of our favorite songs. As we drove by the shifting sands, I thought about my relationship with money. In Vegas, money was everywhere and everything seemed to have a price tag within the bounds of the casinos. It is a dirty place, lacking anything much deeper in purpose than dollars and cents. However, it is also a very freedom loving place. It is an American place, in some very true sense of Americanism. I am a Patriot in many regards and parts of my patriotism respected Vegas for its allowance for freedom in expression and facilitation of personal desires within the bounds of others. Vegas is a weird place. We continued driving through the desert. The views were spectacular. Lake Mead was... having a hard time.

We passed over a large part of Arizona to reach the Grand Canyon. Humorously, we only had thirty minutes to take in the immense size of the Canyon because we had plans in Flagstaff at dinnertime. Dinner was great, although the waiter kept joking with us that our plain water was actually full glasses of tequila. It was a real family establishment, no joke. It was owned by a small Mexican-American family and also catered to families. When we got back to our motel, I turned on the cable TV in the room. The second channel I turned to was the RFD-TV and it was showing the national, children's rope down competition. Through laughter, we sat impressed as 8 and 9 year olds on horseback lassoed down young bulls. Then, we saw barrel racing and mutton busting. Mutton busting is like bull riding, but for 5 years olds on sheep.

On Tuesday, we got breakfast at a traditional southwest establishment in downtown Flagstaff. 'The House the Chilaquiles Built' was painted on the glass of the door. After buying cheap, but tasteful T-shirts in a souvenir shop, we mounted up in our Hyundai Elantra rental car and booked it to Phoenix, AZ, for our return flight to Boston. 

Phoenix, AZ, in July is a confusing place. If one were blindfolded and placed in downtown Phoenix in July, they might feel like Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego if they had burned (they were the three jewish men thrown into a furnace by Nebuchanezzar II of Babylon, but did not burn as God protected them). It is a hot place and I was stunned to learn how many human souls subject themselves to living there. I suppose it is easy for me to say this, when I have never lived in such an arid, hot place. I wish them well, despite their condition.

On the flight back, we did crosswords and played other games. I dozed off for only a moment. 

The following couple days at work were busy and I was heavily distracted. I was lost in thought about my next trip. Despite this, I met some minor deadlines and my main obligations were satisfied.

On that Thursday, I left work and jumped in a car bound for Hyannis, MA. There were five of us in the car, the sixth member of our party could not leave work early due to compliance requirements in the finance industry. The party of five boarded the last ferry of the day to Nantucket after reaching the Steamboat Authority parking lot. 

A blood red moon waning as a thin crescent sat just above the horizon. After the sun set, but before we reached port, all one could see from the stern of the ship was the moon, stars, and pale lights of the boat reflecting on the wake. It was loud, but peaceful. As we pulled into port, I was struck by the line of lights along the shore and the thinness of the civilization against the sea and the sky. Up close, things gained their edges and I was told of the various landmarks at the port. Upon disembarkment, we found a vehicle parked for us and made our way to our lodging on the south side of the island. The whole island is only a bit over 40 square miles so anything is a short drive away by my standards. However, there are no stoplights or organized throughways for vehicles on the island so we had to cobble together instructions by viewing a map on my phone. After only a couple wrong turns, we got to the beach house and quickly fell asleep. The following morning, we made some plans and I got a few last things of work done. When I finished, the others had already left to get supplies at the only Stop & Shop grocery store on island. There are only two grocery stores on island and both are rather small and expectantly pricy. 

We spent the days exploring the island and enjoying the sandy beaches and cold water. It was a dream on Earth and I am so very grateful for having the opportunity to visit. I tossed a stone into the water as we left on that following Monday. Some folks say that you are guaranteed to return if you toss a penny into the water as you pass Brant Point lighthouse. However, I think the stone works just as well and doesn't add to copper pollution.

Resonant Shower Cavity and Aquarium in Monterey, CA

  Jellys in the tank I took a photo of Last night, I was humming in the shower of my cheap motel in Monterey. As I hit a low note in my litt...